A radical new approach to Alzheimer’s

Jerome Burne’s latest article reports on an early successful trial, “Reversal of cognitive decline; A novel therapeutic program”, published in Aging. Developed and led by Dale Bredesen, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles), the study uses a protocol called MEND - Metabolic Enhancement for NeuroDegeneration – on Alzheimer’s sufferers. The protocol used compounds such as diet, supplements, herbs and exercise, not drugs. The patients involved had all complained of increasing problems with their memories and thinking ability, and over 50% of them had stopped working because of it. However after six months of using the MEND protocol all of them had returned to work. A study published in 2013 was described by many as a major breakthrough in the treatment of AD, and concentrated on using B vitamins. There's no denying that the results were hugely significant. But Bredesen’s work only serves to underpin the need for a more complex nutritional and lifestyle intervention programme to tackle Alzheimer’s Disease as discussed in ANH-Intl’s feature article on the subject last year.  Like many integrative medicine practitioners, Bredesen believes “that a broader-based therapeutic approach, rather than a single drug that aims at a single target, may be feasible and potentially more effective for the treatment of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s”.

Working with positive cues: put healthy food at kids eye level!

Research suggests that healthier eating choices could be aided by retailers simply removing junk food from the eye level of children. The US research was published in the journal Appetite and is believed to be the first to look at both the influence of a store environment on children and children’s influence on grocery shopping. Lead researcher, Pamela J. Surkan, explained “Our study suggests that grocery shopping with children can often have negative consequences on the healthfullness of grocery purchases, but has the potential to have a positive influence instead.” Along with altering food placement, participants of the study also suggested children being able to sample food in store, offering cooking classes to older children, and looking at the quantity and advertising of junk food versus healthy food.

UK salt intake still needs to be lower

Experts speaking at a Salt Reduction Forum last week say that the UK’s salt reduction programme still faces challenges. Although the average salt intake has gone down by 15%, average British intakes are still more than 8g a day when the target lies between 5-6g. The forum included salt reduction experts, Prof Franko Cappuccio, Prof Jack Winkler, Prof Graham MacGregor, and FoodNavigators’ science editor, Nathan Gray. One of the main challenges they discussed was that of reaching the most economically challenged members of society who tend to have the highest salt consumption levels. Although they believe it to be “a very successful programme” they made it clear that any top-down messaging would have to remain consistent and be persistent over the next couple of decades at least. It’s not a case of “whether to reduce salt” but “how to reduce salt”. Winkler pointed out that, “…public health specialists will [have to] have the patience not to try and rush it too fast and to alienate consumers in the process.”

Wakefield and colleagues accuse CDC of research misconduct

A letter of complaint has been sent by Dr Hooker, Dr Wakefield and attorney, James Moody, to the Associate Director for Science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Acting Director of the Office of Research Integrity at the Department of Health and Human Services. The letter claims research misconduct in the 2004 paper “Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta”. Following research carried out by Dr Wakefield and colleagues, a group at the CDC, headed by Dr. Frank DeStefano, and including Dr. William Thompson, Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, Dr. Tanya Karapurkar Bhasin, and Dr. Coleen Boyle, set out to test the hypothesis that the earlier administration of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) shot was linked to an increase in autism rates. When scientists set out to test a hypothesis, all the data from the study should be revealed to allow for scientific transparency and a clear demonstration of how the results and conclusions have been obtained. However the data for two groups in the study conduced by the CDC, that demonstrated a clear trend that the earlier the MMR vaccination, the higher the risk of autism, was allegedly concealed. Wakefield’s CDS complaint occurs at the same time that a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled in favour of whistleblowers’ accusation that Merck lied about the efficacy of its mumps vaccine.

USDA gives genetically modified grass the green light without any assessment

Scotts Miracle-Gro asked the USDA to waive its regulatory authority over a new genetically engineered lawn grass, and the USDA has agreed. This means the biotech company can start selling its genetically modified grass without any review of how it might effect human health, the environment or the pastures of organic farmers. Genetically engineered crops are regulated as "plant pests" because plant pathogens (viruses and bacteria) are used in the genetic engineering process. However, Scott's genetically engineered "RoundUp Ready" grass has been created without using bacteria and the USDA therefore says it can't be regulated as a plant pest. This loophole could allow the biotech industry an opening to push GM into the entire food supply, and could easily lead to the end of organic grass-fed meat.

Nokia employee breaks silence about the health effects of Wi-Fi

In a tragic, but somewhat ironic turn of fate, former Nokia Technology Chief, Matti Niemelä, can no longer use the very devices he spent years developing. Niemelä is one of the unfortunate ones who experiences electro-hypersensitivity and suffers severe symptoms due to exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR). As a result of his job he has been exposed to high levels of EMR. His first symptoms appeared within a year of his employment at Nokia and consisted of indications such as coordination problems, slurred speech, skin sensitivity, and a final diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The symptoms got worse the higher his radiation exposure. He now is unable to go out in public much as the radiation increases his MS symptoms. He doesn’t want to scare people about radiation but is concerned about children and their consistent use of mobile phones, and hopes that it will become possible to discuss the effects openly.